Chris Herzfeld


In case you missed it...


Wattana. An Orangutan in Paris


The University of Chicago Press

Chicago and London


May 2016


Translated by Oliver Y. Martin and Robert D. Martin


She likes tea, sews, draws on papers, and is a self-taught master of tying and untying knots. But she is not a crafty woman of the DIY set: she is Wattana, an orangutan who lives in the Jardin des Plantes Zoo in Paris. And it is in Paris where Chris Herzfeld first encounters and becomes impressed by Wattana and her exceptional abilities with knots. In  Wattana: An Orangutan in Paris, Herzfeld tells not only Wattana's fascinating story, but also the story of orangutans and other primates - including bonobos, chimpanzees, and gorillas - in captivity. 




« Herzfeld offers fascinating reflections on a zoo-born ape and her human cultural context. A must-read for anyone interested in the shifting human-animal boundary - including creativity and the aesthetic sense - as illustrated by an exceptionnally talented orangutan. »  -  Frans de Waal



« For this thoughtful, unusual study of the human–ape ‘interface,’ philosopher of science Herzfeld focuses on a captive orangutan, one of less than 1,000 worldwide. Zoo-born Wattana, given string, cloth and paper at the Jardin des Plantes menagerie in Paris, made elaborate knots and ‘necklaces’ — a skilful use of fibre unsurprising in a tree-dwelling primate that builds complex nests, yet so far seen only in captivity. A trove of gripping research. »  -  Nature







1. The Ménagerie of the Jardin des Plantes

2. Growing Up Among Humans

3. Living at the Zoo

4. An Orangutan Who Can Tie Knots

5. On the Aesthetic Sense in Great Apes 







Site de l'éditeur :




Sommaire, reviews, presse et résumé : voir la rubrique PUBLICATIONS




>> More
<< Back